NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – UMass Dartmouth used a three-goal second period and rock-solid defense to overcome a deficit following the first intermission on Thursday evening, registering a 4-2 victory over MASCAC opponent Westfield State at Hetland Arena.
The win snaps a two-game skid for the Corsairs and gives UMass Dartmouth its second-straight win over the Owls in three meetings this season. The Corsairs (7-12-3 overall, 6-7-2 MASCAC) previously defeated Westfield State (11-11-0 overall, 6-9-0 MASCAC) at home on Jan. 16 by the same score after falling 5-2 in November.
Freshman Mason Nichols (Oviedo, Fla.) netted the first goal of his Corsair career as the would-be game winner with just a second left on the clock in the second period, giving UMass Dartmouth a lead it would not relinquish. Senior Mike Restuccia (Malden, Mass.) paced all point-scorers on the game, posting a goal and two assists.
Westfield State jumped on the board early, as Jeremy Young (Lynnfield, Mass.) went top-glove past Corsair goalie Drew Michals (Newton, Mass.) off a Colby Daniels (Leask, Sask.) steal just two minutes into the game.
The 1-0 advantage would hold through the remainder of the period and halfway through the next, until UMass Dartmouth junior Mike Sones (Waterdown, Ont.) forced a turnover in front of the net, with sophomore Casey Shea (Woburn, Mass.) following behind to tip the puck between the legs of Owl net-minder Jonathan LoParco (Vaughan, Ont.). The score for Shea ups his season-goal total to a team-best 13.
Freshman Aaron Clancy (Quincy, Mass.) put the visitors back on top 2-1 six minutes later, but UMass Dartmouth responded in quick measure. At 17:09, senior John Sartell (Wakefield, Mass.) recovered a blocked shot, passing to Restuccia who back-handed the puck past LoParco top-shelf.
The 2-2 score set the stage for Nichols, fed at the point from a Garrett Allen (Dartmouth, Mass.) forced turnover before ripping a slap shot through traffic right before the second buzzer sounded.
Sophomore Jerry Laakso (Tampere, Finland) netted his second score from the left point in as many games in the third period, adding a security goal with assists from Restuccia and Sartell at 11:58. The UMass Dartmouth defense then went to work, holding off a Westfield State power play and pulled LoParco combination late in the period. With 54 seconds remaining, a sprawling Michals stopped what would have been an open-net goal with the tip of his right foot to preserve the Corsair margin of victory.
Michals finished with 37 saves including 14 in the third to better his season record to 7-10-3 overall. LoParco turned aside 24 shots as he took the loss in 57 minutes of ice time.
Both squads went a combined 0-4 on the power play, while the visitors ultimately outshot the hosts 39-24 on the contest.
The Corsairs will take a week hiatus before returning to the ice at Hetland next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against MASCAC leader Salem State. Westfield State plays again Saturday as it welcomes Worcester State for a 5:35 p.m. puck drop.